Education Program Information

Students' Learning Outcomes for Education Preparation Program

1) Students demonstrate an understanding of Seventh-day Adventist beliefs, as they seek the integration of faith and learning in the classroom.

2) Students acquire critical content and concepts of the curriculum in their field of study, and practice their craft in and outside the classroom.

3) Students use a variety of pedagogical approaches for instruction to assist all students in the mastery of the concepts in their field of study with the goal of creating life-long learners.

4) Students demonstrate skillful teaching dispositions based on current research, including the pedagogical knowledge necessary in the teaching and learning process, in their area of specialization.

5) Students work with others to create a positive climate that supports individual and collaborative learning that encourages positive social interaction, and active engagement in learning.

6) Students understand and use multiple forms of assessment to engage learners to take responsibility for their own learning, and to guide the teachers and learners in the decision making process.

7) Students recognize and demonstrate respect for diversity by employing effective strategies in a multicultural setting.

8) Students show a commitment to professional development, making connections between theory and practice in order to become reflective practitioners.

9) Students demonstrate a commitment to service as they participate in outreach activities organized by department.

The Education Preparation Program

The Education Preparation Program at Southwestern Adventist University provides teacher training in elementary education, intermediate school, and secondary level. Students may obtain a Master of Education in Educational Leadership emphasis or Curriculum and Instruction with Reading emphasis.

The Education program is designed to prepare students for certification with the State of Texas, and thus be qualified to teach in either the public or private sector. This preparation is accomplished through a combination of campus and field-based delivery systems.

Degrees are awarded by Southwestern Adventist University, while certification is awarded by the State of Texas. Therefore, a student may seek certification upon completion of any degree, the completion of a state-approved teacher certification program, and the receipt of a satisfactory score on the TExES examinations. To be recommended for certification by Southwestern Adventist University, a minimum of 12 successful semester hours in residence is required.

The State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) establishes the teacher certification standards. Any change in these standards must be reflected in Southwestern Adventist University's certification requirements; therefore, any modification in the state law affecting our certification requirements takes precedence over statements in the Bulletin.

Seventh-day Adventist teacher certification may be acquired simultaneously by meeting the requirements as outlined in the North American Division Office of Education, "Certification Requirements, K-12", as revised in 2017.

Admission to the Education Preparation Program (EPP)

Admission to the University and admission to the Education Preparation Program (EPP) are two separate entities.


  1. Take and pass the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) exam. This exam is offered multiple times during the academic year at the University testing center.
  2. Required THEA scores: reading 230, math 230 and writing 220 (exemption from THEA is 550 in math and verbal on SAT or ACT and composite of 21 with at least 19 in math and language).
  3. Complete a minimum of 60 semester hours, or enrolled in the semester that will complete 60.
  4. Have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.
  5. Have a C or higher in Applied Math, College Algebra, Freshman Composition, and Research Writing.
  6. Secondary majors must have a minimum GPA of 2.75 or higher.

Application Process

Students are responsible for initiating the application to the EPP which is available in the Office of Education. All applicants must complete the following:

  1. Pay for and submit to a criminal background check. Students may request a preliminary criminal history evaluation letter from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) regarding the potential ineligibility for certification due to a previous conviction, deferred adjudication or misdemeanor offense. Previous convictions prevent eligibility to receive a Texas certification.
  2. Submit a one-page typed essay describing reasons for pursuing the teaching profession.
  3. Submit two letters of recommendation (no relatives or department faculty).
  4. Interview with the department faculty before full acceptance into the EPP. See Technical Standard in the Pre-Service Teacher Candidate Handbook. All documents must be provided to the department secretary before students are eligible to interview.

Education Continuation and Progression Policies

Degree Plan

After admission, develop a degree plan with the advisor. Secondary candidates will be assigned an advisor in the department to coordinate with their major advisor. A matrix designed for elementary and secondary is available at the front desk in the department.

Retention in the EPP

To remain in the program students must:

  1. Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0
  2. Secondary candidates must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.75.
  3. Continue to develop in coursework and field experience.
  4. Demonstrate professional ethics as outlined in the TEA Code of Ethics.
  5. Complete all education courses within a six-year timeframe.
  6. Complete all TExES review components in EDUC495/496 as outlined in the matrices.
  7. In order to support student success, education graduates are required to complete TEA state testing within 12 months of graduation. Graduates who fail to meet this deadline must complete an approved remediation program prior to testing approval. Remediation costs are the responsibility of the graduate.

At the end of the junior year, the teacher education faculty will review each student's progress and advise each according to the findings. A student found in violation of any of the above criteria will be placed on probation for the preceding semester. Each semester thereafter, progress will be evaluated for continuance in the program.

Student Teaching

Student teaching is a privilege granted to the student through the courtesy of the school and/ or district to which the student teacher is assigned. Prompt and regular attendance is required. Students are advised to become familiar with the Student Teaching Handbook prior to student teaching.

TEA dictates that substitute teaching, and paraprofessional work cannot be used towards completing the internship requirement. You must consult with the Student Internship/Field Supervision Coordinator to get additional information to complete your student teaching experience. See the eligibility requirements noted below for further instruction for appropriate placement.

Student teaching normally will be taken during the last semester. Student teaching requires full days in the schools for a minimum of 14 consecutive weeks in accordance with the calendar of the school district. Students may not take classes at the university during the hours they are scheduled to student teach, and are limited to 12 credit hours.

Students who do not graduate within six months of student teaching can lose credit for the course and may need to repeat student teaching. The Teacher Education Committee, prior to consideration for an additional student teaching assignment, must review candidates who withdraw or are withdrawn from a student teaching assignment.

Application to Offer Out-of-State/U. S. Territory Field-Based Experiences, Internship, Student Teaching, Clinical Teaching

Texas Administrative Code §228.35 (d) (4)

Subject to all the requirements of this section, the TEA may approve a school that is not a public school accredited by the TEA as a site for field-based experience, internship, student teaching, clinical teaching, and/or practicum. (A) All Department of Defense Education Activity (Dude) schools, wherever located, and all schools accredited by the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC) are approved by the TEA for purposes of field-based experience, internship, student teaching, clinical teaching and/or practicum. (B) An educator preparation program may file an application with the TEA for approval subject, to periodic review, of a public school, a private school or a school system located within any state or territory of the United States, as a site for field-based experience, or for video or other technology-based depiction of a school setting. The application shall be in a form developed by the TEA staff and shall include, at a minimum, evidence showing that the instructional standards of the school or school system align with those of the applicable Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) certification standards. To prevent unnecessary duplication of such applications, the TEA shall maintain a list of the schools, school systems, videos, and other technology-based transmissions that have been approved by the TEA for field-based experience. (C) An educator preparation program may file an application with the TEA for approval, subject to periodic review, of a public or private school located within any state or territory of the United States, as a site for an internship, student teaching, clinical teaching, and/or practicum required by this chapter. The application shall be in a form developed by the TEA staff and shall include at a minimum: (i) the accreditation(s) held by the school; (ii) a crosswalk comparison of the alignment of the instructional standards of the school with those of the applicable TEKS and SBEC certification standards; (iii) the certification, credentials, and training of the field supervisor(s) who will supervise candidates in the school; and (iv) the measure that will be taken by the educator preparation program to ensure that the candidate's experience will be equivalent to that of a candidate in a Texas public school accredited by the TEA. (D) An undergraduate university educator preparation program may file an application with the TEA for approval, subject to periodic review, of a public or private school located outside the United States, as a site for student teaching required by this chapter. The application shall be in a form developed by the TEA staff and shall include at a minimum, the same elements required in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph for schools located within any state or territory of the United States.

Admission to Student Teaching

To be eligible for student teaching, students must:

  1. Be unconditionally admitted to the Education Preparation Program and approved for student teaching status by the Education Preparation Program Committee.
  2. Maintain a grade of C or better in courses in the teaching field(s), or academic specialization area, with an overall grade point average of not less than 3.0.
  3. Secondary Education certification candidates must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 in their major courses.
  4. Complete a minimum of 45 clock hours in field experience prior to student teaching.
  5. Have senior status.
  6. Complete all required methods courses.
  7. Have a commitment to high moral and ethical standards, as defined by the Bulletin and TEA Educators' Code of Ethics.
  8. Students seeking a Seventh-day Adventist certification from the North American Division Office of Education (NADOE) must complete at least one 7-week student teaching placement in an SDA school preferably in a combination or multigrade classroom.
  9. File an application for student teaching one semester prior to directed teaching. A valid graduation contract from the Registrar's Office must be in the student's file prior to student teaching placement.
  10. As of September 1, 2021, all candidates to teach must have attempted the TExES Core Subjects exam prior to student teaching placement.

The Education Department will review all applications to determine eligibility for student teaching. Admission to the EPP does not necessarily ensure acceptance into Student Teaching. Appeals to any decision must be made in writing to the Department of Education and Psychology, and if needed, to the Vice President for Academic Administration.

Dismissal from the EPP

It is never anticipated that a student will be asked to leave the education program. There are several levels of support provided for students in order to assist them through the process of teacher certification. Please seek assistance from these resources when necessary. It is much easier to deal proactively with a potential situation than to handle it re-actively. Failure to adhere to the TEA Educators' code of Ethics is cause for immediate removal from the program with no appeals allowed.

If a student finds it necessary to withdraw from the EPP, written notification is required. it is also important to speak with the advisor for the student to be aware of potential implication of leaving the program. If necessary, a student may be placed on a growth plan, targeting areas of deficiencies, and support to address and remediate these deficiencies.

A committee will meet comprised of members familiar with the student's situation and construct a plan including goals and a specific timeline. Failure to meet the goals in the growth plan will result in dismissal from the EPP.


Appeals must be submitted in writing to the Department Chair and the student's advisor. If appealing an admission or dismissal decision, the request must be provided to the department no more than 5 days after the decision is rendered.

Recommendation to the State Board for Educator Certification

To be recommended to the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) for teacher certification, a student must have successfully met the following criteria:

  • All specified coursework must be completed on the degree plan or certification plan in which certification is sought.
  • Students must complete EDUC 495 and EDUC 496 and score a minimum of 80% on the post-tests to receive approval to take the TExES certification exams.
  • Candidates seeking Texas certification must pass all appropriate state exams (limit of four retests) and apply for appropriate state certification(s) with the State Board for Educator Certification/Texas Education Agency within six months of the completion of their student/ clinical teaching or practicum program. If a candidate allows the six-month period to go by without passing all state exams and applying for certification, additional coursework and/or state exams may be required for recommendation for certification. Additional coursework will be determined by the appropriate Program Coordinator in consultation with faculty.
  • In accordance with Article 6252-13c, Texas Civil Statutes, the Texas Commissioner of Education may suspend or revoke a teaching certificate, or refuse to issue a teaching certificate, for a person who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor for a crime that directly relates to the duties and responsibilities of the teaching profession. All applicants for Texas certificates will be screened for a record of felony or misdemeanor conviction through the Texas Department of Public Safety. Students must make application through the SBEC website and enclose the appropriate fee required for the certificate sought. The Teacher Certification Officer will make recommendations based upon satisfactory completion of all requirements pertaining to certification.

State Certification

Early Childhood Education (EC6)

               Core Subjects EC-6

Secondary 7-12



               Life Science


               Physical Science

               Social Studies

All Level

               Physical Education (PE)


SDA Teaching Certification

North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists: Elementary Endorsement for Grades 1-8, Specialty Endorsement in Kindergarten, and Secondary Content Area Endorsement for Grades 7 - 12. Content areas available for Grades 7-12 are Business, English, History, Journalism, Life Science, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, and Social Studies. Students must earn a grade of C or higher for credit in all religion courses required for NAD certification.

Federal Title II Rating

Southwestern Adventist University is currently ranked in the second quartile nationally for its Title II rating. This reflects a 90% pass rate by students taking the state certification exams.

Educator Certification Examination Retake

Beginning September 1, 2015 candidates will be limited to four attempts to retake any educator certification examination. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is implementing this change to Texas Education Code §21.048 in response to HB 2205, 84th Texas Legislature, 2015. Students may request a waiver from the Texas Education Agency in order to attempt additional exam attempts beyond the maximum limit.